10 Game-Changing Kitchen Remodel Ideas
Looking to remodel your kitchen? Amanda Reynal has you covered. We spoke with the Des Moines-based designer and head of Amanda Reynal Interiors for her best tips and tricks when it comes to reimagining your space. "Whether for cooking big meals or ordering takeout, weeknight family time or hosting a party, the kitchen is the most gathered-in room of today's home," says Reynal. We meet there for holiday baking sessions, birthday celebrations, and even our morning cup of coffee—all the more reason to make this well-visited space its best version yet.
When it comes to renovating, Reynal recommends starting with the basics. "When designing a kitchen, I prioritize our clients' needs as well as function, and then imagine a beautiful design around the working space." From finding the right combination of lighting to ensuring you have plenty of seating and storage, it's important to identify the must-haves on your list before getting down to the details. Budget is also a major consideration and researching what fits your price range will help you select the right materials and styles for your kitchen.
Once the basics and budget are covered, you can start infusing personality into the space—from glossy backsplashes in playful designs to eye-catching drawer handles and sink faucets in the perfect metallic finish. One unexpected kitchen detail to note: While you'll spend the majority of your energy and resources on renovating the parts of your kitchen that fall at eye level, it's important to look up—the ceiling is an often-overlooked detail. Install wooden beams if you're going for a farmhouse vibe or choose a bold paint color for modern contrast. Ahead, more of Reynal's top tips for ensuring your own kitchen remodel is a stylish success.
Turn Up the Lighting
Reynal is big on lighting, and she recommends having a mix of styles within your space. "Typically, we light the island with pendants or multi-light chandeliers," she says. "Surface-mounted lights that are flush or semi-flush help light the ceiling as well as the area below it, which makes a room feel cheerful and bright." She also suggests using recessed lights, especially on a dimmer if the kitchen is used for dining and entertaining. Under-cabinet lighting is also a must.
Add a Splash of Color
Although the ubiquitous white kitchen is always in style, Reynal has been incorporating more and more color into her clients' homes. Look to eye-catching wallpaper or paint all of the cabinetry in your favorite hue. You can also opt for a smaller color commitment, such as choosing a contrasting wood finish for the island. "We've been using grained wood finishes on cabinets more frequently than in the past," she says. "There are many new updated wood finishes that have contrasting grain which look earthy and sophisticated."
Elevate Your Hardware
Reynal puts an extra emphasis on the details. "Hardware and 'faucetry' can elevate a kitchen to the next level," she says. "Warm-toned metals such as brass have become more common, and there's also a wonderful selection of shapes and brushed finishes to choose from." From matte black to champagne bronze, Reynal recommends checking out the selection at your local plumbing and hardware vendor to see what's available.
Opt for Quartz Countertops
It's no secret that white marble is a sought-after kitchen stone, but it's also hard to maintain. Reynal has found a similar alternative. "While I feel that a natural stone countertop adds a living original element to the kitchen, there are new durable and attractive engineered stone options called quartz," she says. "This product can withstand high heat and doesn't scratch or stain easily, making it an extremely practical workhorse option." Want the best of both? Reynal suggests using quartz on the perimeter countertops and a natural stone on the island in a coordinating or contrasting color.
Add Personality with a Backsplash
Backsplashes are a great way to add an extra pop of personality to your space, whether you prefer a crisp, clean look made with quartz or something more adventurous, like a colorful glass tile. "I often choose a backsplash in a marble mosaic pattern to add interest and sophistication to a simpler kitchen," says Reynal.
Choose the Right Flooring
Gone are the days of closed-off kitchens. In order to keep the kitchen feeling like it's part of the rest of the home, Reynal suggests using the same flooring as the surrounding living areas to create a unified look. However, there are opportunities where a different flooring is preferable in a kitchen. "When using a tile floor, it's nice to add underfloor heat if in a climate with cooler seasonal temps," says Reynal. "With in-floor heating, stone or ceramic tiles don't feel cold and uninviting underfoot. This is also an opportunity to add a texture or pattern to the floors that tie the rest of the design scheme together."
Choose Panel-Ready Appliances
Another game changer in the kitchen: panel-ready appliances, which are available through most appliance companies these days. "Having an integrated look with cabinets and appliances all blending together makes a kitchen feel more like a room," says Reynal. "Ranges also come in many finishes and, in some cases, bright colors, which can add an original focal point to the room."
Don't Forget the Ceiling
The ceiling is often overlooked, but Reynal has some ideas for bringing it to life. "Just as I like to keep a ceiling well-lit and bright, I also like to acknowledge and incorporate it into our design scheme," she says. "This can be as simple as painting it a contrasting color to the walls and cabinets or as elaborate as adding beams, wood planks, or applied coffers."
Create Plenty of Storage
You can never go wrong with added storage. "There are so many new and clever kitchen storage ideas that our clients love to utilize," says Reynal. "From keeping plates in large drawers at a lower level to hidden coffee bars behind doors, there are many ways to maximize space. Even in the areas behind doors, pull-outs can help with accessibility and still allow everything to be hidden."
Make Room for Seating
"Depending on size and use of the kitchen, we always suggest having at least a couple of stools at the island," says Reynal. "This could be a space for casual dining or a perch for guests to sit and chat with the cook while the meal is being prepared." Dealing with a tight space, but still have room for a table? Do as Reynal does and incorporate a banquette into the kitchen. "The banquette can be under a window or in a corner or even as an architectural divider to separate an open plan kitchen from the living area."